I love the Australian bush – the beauty, the timelessness, the smell of eucalyptus leaves crunching underfoot. But I don't love it enough to live beyond walking distance of the ocean; the Australian coastline is my true love. And that is why Burleigh Ridge Park is the best bit of bush on the Gold Coast. There, less than a kilometre from the beach is the Australian bush, with a twist of sea mist and a lilt of crashing waves.
Burleigh Ridge Park is surrounded by suburbia yet it's one of the Gold Coast's secrets. It is part of the Burleigh Green Space – 90 hectares of reserves which provide a wildlife corridor connecting the coastal rainforest of Burleigh Head National Park with the rainforests of the Border Ranges. The park is home to a remarkable amount of Gold Coast wildlife, including more than 60 species of birds, lizards, and brush turkeys; if you're eagle-eyed, patient, and lucky, you might even spot a glider or a koala among the paperbarks.
Burleigh Ridge Park: Southern Entrance at the junction of Tabilban St and Reserve St
Within the park are several great walks which are short and steep; these are accessible via one of the park's four entrances:
1. Southern Entrance -- a metal gate at the junction of Tabilban Street and Reserve Street. 2. Marjorie St Henry (MBE) Park Entrance -- a track behind the playground on Tabilban Street. 3. Eastern Entrance -- stairs leading from the Gold Coast Highway opposite George Street East. 4. Northern Entrance -- a track off George Street Central.
Exploring the park is educational, fun, healthy, and free. It's a great activity for kids, and it's a great way for mums and dads to stay in shape. The walking tracks are baby carrier-friendly and toddler-friendly. And I suppose you could say stroller-friendly too (except for the stairs at the Eastern Entrance). My daughter's stroller has rolled around the tracks, though beware: the way is bumpy and sometimes slippery.
Get in shape with your kids at Burleigh Ridge Park
If you are exploring the park with kids in tow, then pause for a play at the playground in Marjorie St Henry (MBE) Park. Marjorie St Henry might not be a household name, but she is one of the Gold Coast's most important women. In 1954 she became the first female Alderman on the South Coast Town Council (the predecessor of today's Gold Coast City Council), and in 1996 she was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her outstanding services to local government and her contribution to community welfare and education. Great information about which to educate (bore?) your kids. I don't know. My two year old is enthralled by everything I say, and she's yet to learn to roll her eyes - two good things about two year olds.
Sadly the playground in Marjorie St Henry (MBE) Park is perhaps the least cared for Gold Coast playground. Nevertheless, it has swings, a slide, and a flying fox.
There's no need for your outing to end at Burleigh Ridge Park. From the Eastern Entrance cross the Gold Coast Highway and explore Burleigh Head National Park and Tallebudgera Creek. Or, from the Northern Entrance walk down to bustling James Street and explore Burleigh Village's boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Burleigh Ridge Park: Northern Entrance on George St Central